Magazine article Information Today

The Joys of Netbooks

Magazine article Information Today

The Joys of Netbooks

Article excerpt

The day before I left for Crystal City, Va., for the Computers in Libraries conference, my IBM ThinkPad laptop broke. Specifically, the screws that attach the screen and the keyboard popped out all over my dining room table.

Now if you know my luck with computers, especially at or before a conference, this will not surprise you. However, I was not shocked, and I was not amused. After using a few foul words, I started researching laptops, knowing I needed to buy one right away. And, of course, in this recession, I couldn't spend a lot of money.

Over the past several years, I had heard a lot about netbooks. I have taken a few of them on trial runs but without much success. They seemed slow and clumsy; this wasn't what I needed in a laptop. To be sure, most of my work is done online without any applications, besides a browser. But I work my browser hard using many Firefox add-ons, which slows the processing speed. I usually have many tabs open at once, and it is not rare for three different types of browsers to be open simultaneously (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Google Chrome). But I experimented with netbooks 2 years ago when they were just starting out, and we all know that first iterations of any technology (whether it be software, applications, or online tools) are not the final product. They might as well have "beta" stamped on them.

What I Needed

I decided to check out netbooks again. I needed one quickly, so special ordering one wasn't an option; this was going to be a WYSIWYG purchase for me. I actually had a plethora of models to choose from: Acer, Dell, HP, and Sony. My local computer store had most of these in stock. Some of the following features are necessities for me, and I didn't want to negotiate on them:

* Screen Size - The screen was going to be small, but I wanted to find the biggest one possible.

* Speed - The speed of the processor had to be at least IG.

* Weight - If I was going to try the miniature size, this one had to weigh next to nothing.

* Ports-I needed at least two USB ports, a flash drive insert, and an Ethernet port (I plug in at client offices).

Hard drive space wasn't a big concern for me because I have a terabyte external hard drive at home, and I usually back up and transfer files every week. Anything more than 8G would do. …

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